ESL One: Road to Rio (Europe) Preview

We've finally got a big tournament to look forward to, with ESL One: Road to Rio set to kick-off! Some of the world's best teams will duke it out hoping to climb the leaderboards of the newly introduced Regional Major Rankings.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
22nd Apr, 20·☕️ 5 min read

We’ve finally got a big tournament to look forward to, with ESL One: Road to Rio set to kick-off! Some of the world’s best teams will duke it out hoping to climb the leaderboards of the newly introduced Regional Major Rankings.

Competition Information

ESL One: Road to Rio will be the first tournament series to award ranking points for the recently announced Regional Major Rankings - a ranking system developed by Valve to ensure that only the world’s top teams make it to the Major. ESL One: Road to Rio will feature six regional tournaments with a grand total of $255,000 in prizes, starting with Europe on April 22nd.

In this article, we will break down the European portion of the event. The group stage will run from April 22 to May 10 and will feature two best-of-three, round-robin groups. The top two teams in each group will advance to the upper-bracket, while the teams finishing in third and fourth place will start their playoff journey in the lower-bracket.

The playoffs will feature a best-of-three, double-elimination bracket, ending with a best-of-five grand final. It’s also worth noting that the team that goes through the upper-bracket will have a one-map advantage in the final.

The groups for ESL One: Road to Rio (Europe) looks as follows:

Group A

  • 🇩🇰 Astralis
  • 🇪🇺 Complexity
  • 🇸🇪 Dignitas
  • 🇫🇮 ENCE
  • 🇸🇪 fnatic
  • 🇸🇪 NiP
  • 🇫🇷 Vitality
  • 🇫🇷 Heretics

Group B

  • 🇪🇺 FaZe
  • 🇫🇷 G2
  • 🇪🇺 mousesports
  • 🇩🇰 North
  • 🇪🇺 GODSENT
  • 🇪🇺 c0ntact
  • 🇪🇸 Movistar Riders
  • 🇩🇰 Copenhagen Flames

The Current Season

Teams to Watch:


Record: 24 / 0 / 16
Most Played Map: Dust2 (50.0%)
Best Map: Overpass (75.0%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (50.0%)

Astralis were unable to overcome mousesports in a match to decide who moved on to the final of ESL Pro League Europe. Interestingly, they have also dropped games to both fnatic and NiP recently, two teams that they will be going up against once more in Group A. Despite this, they are coming in as one of the odds on favorites to win this event.



Record: 32 / 0 / 19
Most Played Map: Inferno (75.0%)
Best Map: Nuke (80.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (25.0%)

fnatic came out all guns blazing to win ESL Pro League Europe. Oh, and their knives were pretty sharp too, leading all teams with 15 knife kills in the tournament. This fnatic team has looked very solid pretty much ever since flusha and Golden came back to the roster, with several top placings and wins in prestigious tournaments, including a win at DreamHack Masters Malmö. Their playstyle is incredibly fearless and even cocky at times, making them one of the most entertaining teams to watch right now.



Record: 34 / 0 / 18
Most Played Map: Dust2 (84.6%)
Best Map: Dust2 (84.6%)
Worst Map: Overpass (0.0%)

mousesports are coming off a closely contested loss to fnatic in the final of ESL Pro League. They put themselves in a great spot to win the final with wins on Dust2 and Vertigo after losing fnatic’s map pick, but they were only able to muster a single round in a crushing defeat on Nuke, which gave fnatic a way back into the game. A 16–12 scoreline on Mirage settled the score in favor of fnatic, and mousesports were unable to add to their already impressive collection of trophies. They will look to bounce back with a win at ESL One: Road to Rio, and they will have a great chance at making it out of a group which includes G2 and FaZe, two teams that they defeated in ESL Pro League.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Record: 8 / 0 / 10
Most Played Map: Vertigo (66.7%)
Best Map: Inferno (75.0%)
Worst Map: Train (0.0%)

NiP surprised many by upsetting Astralis in the opening match of ESL Pro League, and they kept that form going, defeating Spirit and GODSENT in the following matches. However, they were unable to make it to the second stage of the league after disappointing losses to Vitality, ENCE and fnatic. Interestingly, they will get a chance of redemption here, with all three of these teams present in Group A. With f0rest and GeT_RiGhT having left the team, it is an all-new NiP that we are seeing, and they have looked quite interesting so far. The most exciting change that they have made is the addition of threat, a coach who was clearly very influential during NiP’s heyday, and we have already seen some interesting strategies coming out of NiP on Vertigo in particular. A team of young and hungry players, a great coach and a diverse map pool makes this NiP team a solid dark-horse candidate.


Record: 31 / 0 / 18
Most Played Map: Nuke (66.7%)
Best Map: Mirage (90.0%)
Worst Map: Train (25.0%)

The duo of NiKo and coldzera have finally started to live up their star player status with several big-time performances, making FaZe one of the world’s most individually skilled rosters. Switching broky over to the AWP has also proven to be the right move, with the Latvian showing fine form the big green gun in recent matches. They have been agonizingly close to beating some of the world’s best teams recently, and they will likely get over the hump eventually. They will have had a couple of weeks to work on their game after dropping out of ESL Pro League, and I would not be surprised to see FaZe come out firing in Group B.

Betting Tips:

Check out our daily betting tips for ESL One: Road to Rio here.


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